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How To Wear: Print Trousers


In our recent article on how to wear the print blazer, we underscored the move towards a bolder male wardrobe. Print trousers, if you remember, enjoyed somewhat of a moment last year. They followed the industry’s obsession with prints and patterns, being brought to the forefront as a way to stand out and experiment with your personal style.

Momentum has carried them through nicely to where we are now. The trend is going from strength to strength and showing no signs of slowing. So why should we?

Print Trousers

Utilising print on your leg wear provides the chance to make a real statement. Employing your bottom half as the medium for a spot of wardrobe experimentation is a great alternative to the expected use of, say, a jacket or outerwear as the focal point of your look.

On The Runways

Print trousers were featured prominently across the global fashion weeks for SS13, showcased in collections from the likes of Gucci, Dries Van Noten, Hackett, Zegna and Diesel Black Gold:

Men's Print Trousers On The SS13 Runways

Print Trousers: The Guidelines

Of course, when it comes to pulling off print on your pants there are certain guidelines that need to be observed in order to curate an effective outfit that will avoid a literal clown-like resemblance.

The rules of wearing print in a sophisticated and successful fashion have been well documented on FashionBeans. Nevertheless, a brief refresher is never a bad idea, especially in an industry where the ‘rules’ appear to be ever-changing and evolving. Mr Allison’s advice on the art of confidence should definitely be alluded to, as it is something that forms the backbone of any look that involves bolder or brighter aspects.

The inimitable Mr Hardy Amies put it best when he stated “a man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them”. No awkwardness or second-guessing should be present when it comes to style. If it does then, simply put, you’re not wearing the item – it’s wearing you.

Another ‘rule’ that is often brought up in relation to wearing prints concerns the use of neutral staples to balance your statement piece(s). Of course, print on print isn’t something necessarily to avoid, but as a concept it is tricky to do well. That said, if you’ve got the confidence to try it and a good pattern-mixing base to build off, then be my guest – done correctly, you will turn heads for all the right reasons.

For the simplest way to pull off printed trousers, simply swap them for your normal neutral chinos or jeans and pair with items of a more restrained nature for maximum effect and ease of wear.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Printed Trousers Lookbook SS13

scotch & soda ss13 suitsupply ss13 zara man ss12 dolce and gabbana ss13 drykorn ss13 cerruti 1881 paris ss13 Percival aw12 T.I for men ss13 scotch & soda ss13 beams ss13 gant rugger holiday 2012 paul & joe ss13
Print Trousers Outfit Inspiration
Look One: Smart-Casual

Take a smarter approach to print by swapping out your trousers or more formal chinos for a statement version. Keep the rest of the look as is: the classic combination of blazer, shirt, smart shoes plus any accessories or additional touches that are trademarks of your personal style. The only difference should be the new found print on your trousers.

Accessories provide a good opportunity to inject a further dose of colour into the look, although elect for either a pocket square OR tie in this instance. Three points of bold visual interest is a little too much and will diminish the look. Of course, you can simply stick to the statement trousers and keep the accessories neutral if you really want your leg wear to shine:

Look Two: Casual Chinos

Simply put, print trousers aren’t the most formal of items (although this continues to change gradually), so for any true formal event they should be sidestepped completely. Stick to smart-casual occasions to make use of them in a more refined manner.

However, casual doesn’t need to lack a certain level of sophistication. Opt for light, neutral knitwear and a pale blue shirt to grace the waistband of some bold print chinos.

Keep the fabrics lightweight for seasonally appropriate layering and polish with timeless tassel loafers – sockless of course or, at least, the appearance of:

  • Reiss 1971 Piccolo Linen Shirt Light BlueReiss 1971 Piccolo Linen Shirt Light Blue
  • Beams Plus Cable-knit Linen And Cotton-blend SweaterBeams Plus Cable-knit Linen And Cotton-blend Sweater
  • Topman Stone All Over Print Skinny ChinosTopman Stone All Over Print Skinny Chinos
  • H By Hudson Tyskatu Brown Tassel LoafersH By Hudson Tyskatu Brown Tassel Loafers
Look Three Preppy Prints

Rather than taking on a modern print, why not tone it down with a more classic and enduring pattern? Think checks or a more unorthodox stripe. Plaid is a preppy essential and the trousers below will work well in simple, casual looks that allow them to really stand out.

A plain polo and loafers combination finishes off a traditional preppy print ensemble that is easy to wear and possesses an unerring timeless charm:

  • Reiss Inferno Short Sleeve Melange Polo WhiteReiss Inferno Short Sleeve Melange Polo White
  • Gant Rugger Slim-fit Plaid Wool-blend TrousersGant Rugger Slim-fit Plaid Wool-blend Trousers
  • Bass Weejuns Larkin Loafers 153018Bass Weejuns Larkin Loafers 153018
Current Printed Trousers
Final Word

Print has become a firm menswear favourite among the bold and the brave. It has been pushed in every way imaginable across the fashion spectrum – from high fashion to high street – and we’ll never tire of its audacious (but by no means arrogant) appearance.

Print trousers represent the nerviest part of this trend and require a certain level of confidence and personal style to pull off. There is no hiding away once a pair has been donned and a red face is far from nonchalant.

Will you be taking the plunge? Let us know in the comments below…

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